TEACHERS smiled all the way to the banks yesterday to withdraw their bonus, which Government paid them as promised. The educators, who got their December salary on Monday, flooded the banks, joining scores of depositors who wanted to withdraw their cash as the festive season enters the home stretch.
In Bulawayo scores of depositors were in the queues as early as 5.30am while in Gweru some banks ran out of cash.
“We have just received our bonus and we are happy. I can now go on holiday with a smile,” said a teacher after withdrawing his cash at a bank in Bulawayo.
However, some had to spend the whole day in the queues as some banks had cash problems.
There has been a lot of anxiety among the entire civil service following speculation by prophets of doom that remaining civil servants were not going to get their 13th cheque.
There was commotion at some of the banks in Gweru as the financial institutions could not cope with the huge numbers and ran out of cash.
When Chronicle visited one bank along Sixth Street, hordes of civil servants were seated while others maintained the queue with the bank officials saying they had run out of cash.
Some frustrated depositors could be seen pushing and shoving with the bank security guards as they tried to force their way into the banking hall.
Chronicle was also denied entry with the security insisting that there was no cash and no one was allowed inside where management and staff was said to be busy making efforts to have the cash deposited into the bank from Harare.
“There is no reason for you to get into the banking hall. Management won’t attend to you, they are busy working out a plan to have the money deposited into the bank,” said the security officer who was manning the entrance into the banking hall.
At another bank along Robert Mugabe Way, police were called in to restore order as civil servants jostled to access their money. Civil servants interviewed expressed joy at getting their bonuses.
They said the only disappointment was the poor service they were subjected to at their respective banks.
“We are happy that government has given us bonuses, some of us were no longer certain whether we were going to receive our bonuses or not because of the contradicting stories you (media) have been writing,” said Tatenda Gaka, a teacher from Lower Gweru.
Another civil servant, Ms Rejoice Kwande said:
“Government has played its part but we are disappointed by what is happening at our bank. Few people got their money in the morning and around 11am, we were told that there was no money.”